J Liver Cancer.  2021 Sep;21(2):139-145. 10.17998/jlc.2021.09.24.

Advances in immune checkpoint inhibitors for hepatocellular carcinoma

  • 1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 2The Catholic University Liver Research Center, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon, Korea


Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most common cancer, and the second leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Although recent advances in immune checkpoint inhibitor-based immunotherapy have initiated a new era for advanced HCC treatment, the majority of HCC patients receiving immune checkpoint blockades do not derive clinical benefit. Thus, there remains an urgent need for novel immunotherapeutic strategies with improved therapeutic efficacy. Here we review recent studies of immune checkpoint blockade in HCC, providing the necessary basis for the rational design of immunotherapy.


Hepatocellular carcinoma; Immune checkpoint inhibitors; PD-1-PD-L1 blockade; Immunotherapy
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